Raiders open NAIA tournament with win, advance to winner’s bracket
May 16, 2023 8:52am
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – In a game that came down to the final at-bat, No. 12-ranked Northwestern (47-8, 18-4 GPAC) advanced to the winner’s bracket of the Klamath Falls Regional, defeating (RV) Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) (37-15, 23-3 Cal Pac) on Monday afternoon.
NWC 6, ERAU 5
The thin mountain air proved to be a factor in Monday’s tournament matchup, as the ball flew around the park in a 6-5 Red Raider win.
The Eagles broke on to the scoreboard first after two quick outs from the Raider defense, putting a runner on with a ground rule double, followed up by an RBI two-bagger from Kate Delaney to make the score 1-0.
Northwestern used plate discipline to take their first lead in the first inning, walking on three of the first four at-bats, followed up by a grand slam deep to center field by Kameryn Etherington (Jr., Algona, Iowa), her third grand slam of the season and ninth round-tripper of the season.
In their next offensive appearance, Northwestern left the bases loaded, holding the score at 4-1 going into the third inning.
Embry-Riddle scored a run on three hits in the top of the third, using a two-out RBI single lined into left and off the glove of a Raider infielder to bring in the runner from second and cut the deficit to two runs.
Following a brief lightning delay to start the bottom of the third, the Northwestern offense put together another two-out rally, getting Ashtyn Billings (Fr., Ankeny, Iowa) and Charli Bomgaars (So., Boyden, Iowa) aboard on back-to-back walks, setting up Gwen Mikkelsen (Jr., Casa Grande, Ariz.) with a two-RBI double to add to the Red Raider lead.
A leadoff home run for Embry-Riddle was the only run scored in the fourth, as a blast to center field by Autumn Sulusi made the score 6-3. The Eagles also scored on the home run in the fifth, their second long ball of the game, keeping it close at 6-4.
The seventh inning saw the Eagles put a run on the board, but Kate Kralik (So., Indianola, Iowa) struck out the final batter with the bases loaded to earn her seventh save of the season and send the Raiders to the next round in the winner’s bracket.
Kameryn Etherington hit a grand slam for her team-leading ninth home run of the season and fifth in seven games.
In the circle, Etherington pitched four innings with two strikeouts.
Gwen Mikkelsen reached base three times and had a two-RBI double.
Charli Bomgaars also recorded two hits and a walk.
The Raiders only struck out once while drawing nine free bases.
“It was a great atmosphere with great electricity,” said head coach Shane Bouman. “Embry-Riddle has a good team that put a lot of pressure on us, but we competed like crazy and came out on top.”
Up Next: The Raiders will play again Tuesday, facing top ranked Oregon Tech at 2:00 p.m. (CT)/12:00 p.m. (PT) in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Oregon Tech beat Saint Xavier (Ill.) 4-3 on Monday.
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